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Int J Cancer. 2008 Sep 1;123(5):1181-9. doi: 10.1002/ijc.23626.

Bi20 (fBTA05), a novel trifunctional bispecific antibody (anti-CD20 x anti-CD3), mediates efficient killing of B-cell lymphoma cells even with very low CD20 expression levels.

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TRION Research GmbH, Martinsried, Germany.


Trifunctional bispecific antibodies can efficiently mediate tumor cell killing by redirecting T cells and immune accessory cells to the tumor cell. Here, we describe the new trifunctional antibody, Bi20 (FBTA05, anti-CD20 x anti-CD3), that connects B cells and T cells via its variable regions and recruits FcgammaRI(+) accessory immune cells via its Fc region. Bi20 mediated efficient and specific lysis of B-cell lines and of B cells with low CD20 expression levels that were derived from CLL patients. Remarkably, T-cell activation and tumor cell killing occurred in an entirely autologous setting without additional effector cells in 5 of 8 samples. In comparison, rituximab, a chimeric monoclonal CD20 antibody, demonstrated a significantly lower B-cell eradication rate. Additionally, Bi20, but not rituximab, upregulated the activation markers CD25 and CD69 on both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells in the presence of accessory immune cells. CD14(+) accessory cells and the monocyte cell line THP-1 were activated via binding of the Fc region of Bi20, given that T cells were simultaneously engaged by the antibody. Bi20 induced a strong Th1 cytokine pattern characterized by high IFN-gamma and very low IL-4 secretion. In conclusion, Bi20 may offer new immunotherapeutic options for the treatment of B-cell lymphomas.

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